Section 8 is a subsidized housing programs that helps many Americans afford to live in the communities where they’ve put down roots. When rents begin to skyrocket and gentrification takes hold, Section 8 housing is often there to bridge the gap. With this in mind, those people in California who want to apply for Section 8 must go through several specific steps. It all starts with figuring out whether you qualify for this housing assistance in the first place. From there, you’ll be walked through a specific process online that can help you get vouchers to make housing more affordable.
Figuring out your income and where you fall on the spectrum
Keep in mind when going through the process that roughly three in every four vouchers for Section 8 go to people who are considered to have extremely low income. According to the law, they have extremely low income when they earn 30% or less of the median income in their area.
To figure out where you stand, you would first add up all income that you receive from any source. If you’re a single mother working two jobs and collecting alimony and Social Security benefits, then you’d add all of that and compare it to the median in your area. How you measure up in comparison to your neighbors will determine your likelihood of receiving assistance.
Meeting other qualifications
The income requirements aren’t the only impediments to Section 8 eligibility. You must also check your immigration status to ensure that you’re an American citizen. Beyond that, you have to wait three years from the last time you were evicted from a Section 8 house for a drug-related criminal offense. If you’ve been clean or if it’s been longer than three years since the eviction, then you’re in the clear.
Finding the proper Housing Authority office
In California, you will apply directly with the city where you want to live. If you’re looking to move from Central California to San Francisco, for instance, you would look up the contact information for the San Francisco Housing Authority office. You can look this up through the state’s official website. On the website, you will find the appropriate office by locating the city and ensuring that it is listed as a Section 8 option there.
Applying directly through the office
Every Housing Authority office in California is different when it comes to the application. Some will have an online portal. Others will require a paper application. In either case, you will submit information about your family and income level. You may be required to wait until a specific time to make this determination, as some offices have waiting periods because of high demand. You can expect to wait longer in the Bay Area and San Diego than in Barstow, for instance.
You’ll also let the Housing Authority know whether you qualify for something called local preference. If you happen to be homeless or you have been recently displaced by circumstances out of your control, then you may get preference over other applicants. You’ll then wait for instructions from the local office, which will process your application according to its time table.